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Head of Operations- School of Social Policy

Social Policy

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 10th Sep 2021
  • Salary: £42,149 to £50,296. With potential progression once in post to £56,587 a year
  • REF: 31715
  • Closes: 26th September 2021
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time

Job Summary

This is a crucial post in the College in which the post holder works closely with the College Director of Operations (DoOp), the Head of School and other member of College Board to contribute to the development and implementation of School and College strategic objectives.

The role of the Head of Operations (HoOp) is to ensure the provision of efficient professional services within the School, by providing effective leadership and management of the School’s professional services staff, working closely with staff from the College Hub and, as necessary, from within the wider University. The HoOp is an integral member of the School’s senior leadership team and the College’s Professional Services Senior Management Team (PS SMT).

As well as having overall responsibility for the provision of professional services within the
School, the post holder will be a member of the College of Social Sciences (CoSS) Operational Management Committee, which shadows the College Board, and takes a proactive approach in helping the College and wider University to realise its strategic aims through the development of professional services; which best meet the needs of the College, taking into account best practice from across the University as well as the wider Higher Education sector.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Professional Services Leadership
• To take overall responsibility for the delivery of efficient and effective professional services in the School which are fit for purpose; to lead and manage the professional services staff in the School, through intermediary managers as appropriate, to ensure delivery of the School’s Strategy and compliance with College and University policies and procedures;
• To ensure that all processes and procedures in the School are fit for purpose, efficient and effective and designed to benefit the end-user and to lead a culture of continuous service improvement.

Governance and Compliance
• To support the Head of School in ensuring that the School has robust governance and decision making structures that are fully aligned with those at College and University level, advising SMT on governance and compliance as appropriate;
• To ensure that the School has excellent secretariat services to support the School’s committees in order to ensure that decisions made are communicated and followed up as appropriate;
• To take the lead on ensuring that the School complies with University Regulations, all other University policies, procedures and guidelines, relevant legislation.

Resource Planning and Management
• To work closely with the Head of School, Heads of Department and sider SMT, on all resource planning and management activity and developing operating plans designed to deliver the School’s Strategy. This will involve working with academic managers to develop and implement strategies to achieve the School’s mission though identifying issues and then developing and implementing solutions;

Human Resources
• To ensure the School has the appropriate professional services staff and professional services staffing structures in place to ensure delivery of the University, College, and School Strategy and operating plans including change initiatives;
• To support the Head of School in developing appropriate academic staffing structures and strategies designed to ensure delivery of the School Strategy;
• To ensure appropriate HR strategies and procedures are in place for school members of staff to include induction, succession planning, training and development, performance management and review and reward mechanisms, working with College HR staff as appropriate to ensure compliance with University policy and procedures and relevant legislation;
• To ensure that effective and efficient processes and support are in place in relation to HR matters in the School, to include sickness and leave monitoring, recruitment process management and maintaining up-to-date and relevant staff records, working with College HR staff as appropriate to ensure compliance with University policy and procedures and relevant legislation;

• In collaboration with College Business Partners, support the Head of School in the effective management of the School’s budget and to take direct responsibility for managing those areas of the School’s budget directly delegated to the Head of Operations;
• To ensure that there are appropriate internal financial systems and procedures set up in the School that conform to the University’s “Manual of Financial Rules and Procedures” in the area of budgetary management, including procurement, trading activities, work load planning, research grant reporting, PTVL contract and inventory management and to keep these systems under periodic review to ensure continuous improvement and to ensure compliance with University regulations.

• Facilities and Services Working closely with the College Head of Facilities, College Head of IT Support and wider facilities & IT colleagues, to ensure the School has appropriate facilities, in terms of buildings, equipment, IT and other relevant facilities and that these facilities are managed in an efficient and effective manner

• Work closely with College Business Partners (to include finance, planning, HR, marketing etc.) to support the Head of School in developing the School’s Strategy in the context of the College Compact and the University Strategic Framework document. To support the Head of School in putting in place and managing an annual process for reviewing the School’s strategic ambitions to ensure the Strategy remains up-to-date and relevant taking into account both external factors, relevant management information and any changes in College and/or University strategic ambitions;
• To support the Head of School in ensuring that the School periodically reviews strategic and operational risk to inform the College risk register – following University guidelines on risk management and reporting – and ensures that both strategic and operational planning in the School takes account of the School’s risk register;
• To participate in strategic planning initiatives at both College and University level as required by the Director of Operations;
• To develop, drive and lead change management at School or College level as appropriate
• To support the Head of School in developing annual operating plans designed to deliver the School’s Strategy. This will involve working with academic portfolio holders to develop and implement strategies to achieve the School’s mission though identifying issues and then developing and implementing solutions;
• To work with the Head of School, and college alumni and marketing, communications and web team, to ensure that the School maintains and enhances its profile and reputation at a national and international level and reflects positively on the School’s student and staff recruitment strategies and that effective internal communication mechanisms are in place within the School.

College-wide Role
• To work collaboratively with PS SMT and Operations Management Committee in developing and delivering College projects and initiatives.
• To work effectively across the wider University, to develop and maximise service delivery and the provision of professional services across the University, College and School, promoting the Birmingham Professional agenda and sharing best practice as appropriate.

Person specification
• Formal education to degree level or equivalent leadership experience
• Significant experience of managing large groups of professional services staff where appropriate staff through intermediate managers
• Excellent leadership and management skills and the ability to motivate teams and manage performance
• The ability to think critically, to analyse complex data and produce meaningful reports for SMT and College Board that influence policy and facilitate decision-making
• Evidence of working with a focus on excellence and continuous service improvement
• Strong interpersonal skills to work with senior managers across the university and colleagues at all levels both within the professional services teams and with academics
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to produce a variety of documentation including strategies, operational plans, business cases, minutes and other reports
• An ability to work under pressure, manage competing priorities, work to tight deadlines and demonstrate personal judgement and resourcefulness
• First class project planning and management skills
• A ‘can-do’ attitude and a solutions-driven approach
• The ability to work independently, to exercise professional judgement and when necessary make difficult decisions
• Comfortable at operating at senior management level
• Knowledge and significant expertise in:
o Working with and influencing senior managers
o Working with management information and systems
o Resource planning and financial and budget management
o Managing operational teams in a service environment
o Translating strategy into operational plans with measureable outcomes
o Implementing and managing change
• Knowledge of the Higher Education environment and its business requirements

Informal enquiries should be made to Yvonne Hackforth-Williams, Director of Operations. Tel: 0121 414 7348, email: y.e.williams@bham.ac.uk and/or Anthea Hucklesby, Head of the School of Social Policy. Email: a.hucklesby@bham.ac.uk

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment
We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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